The new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has continued his demands for improvements to the training complex he inherited, by ordering the creation of two superior training pitches which will today be laid using the same turf as his players will perform on at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal revealed last week that he is unhappy with the windy nature of the training complex which Sir Alex Ferguson viewed as one of his great legacies, prompting the club to plant trees which will act as a barrier.
Van Gaal has that said the training ground pitches are also unsatisfactory, leading United to seek a rapid solution by ripping up two training pitches and replacing them with the new Dessograssmaster surface which is in place at Old Trafford and Wembley. The new pitches will be laid today, among a frenzy of pre-season work at Old Trafford. Double fences are also expected to be erected to complement the use of trees as wind breaks.
The immediacy with which the work has been undertaken underlines the assertiveness and decisiveness which United chief executive Ed Woodward consider to be among Van Gaal’s key assets.
Premier League 2014/15 kits: In pictures
Premier League 2014/15 kits: In pictures
1/20 Aston Villa
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street. The yellow shirt will be for away matches and the blue shirt for away cup matches
2/20 Aston Villa (Home)
A number of clubs have opted for the thin stripe design on this season's shirt, and Aston Villa appear to have followed suit.
3/20 Burnley (Home)
Burnley's claret and blue shirt, sponsored by Puma, is a decent viewing on their return to the Premier League.
4/20 Chelsea (Home)
After Chelsea's famous paint campaign last season, Oscar models the simple, horizontal stripe design for the royal blue home kit. A solid effort from Adidas, but a pricey one at £55 for a short-sleeved shirt.
5/20 Chelsea (Away)
Reminiscent of their famous 1998 shirt - and the infamous 2008 one which they played in under Luiz Felipe Scolari - Chelsea have chosen the Brazilian style design for their away shirt.
6/20 Crystal Palace (Home & Away)
Is it Barcelona or more Steaua Bucharest? Either way, Crystal Palace's new home shirt is a simple and smart piece of innovation from manufacturers Macron. Their away kit, however, looks suspiciously like Napoli's - whose kit is also made by Macron - away shirt from 2013/14.
7/20 Everton (Home)
Everton players James McCarthy, Tim Howard and Leighton Baines model the 2014/15 shirt, which marks the comeback of Umbro into the Premier League.
8/20 Leicester City (Home)
Leicester City's return to the Premier League has been marked with this rather smart effort by Puma. Carrying a similar template to Italy's shirts can never go wrong.
Leicester City Football Club
9/20 Liverpool (Home)
Warrior's latest crack at the Liverpool home shirt is an impressive one indeed, marking a return to the red and white colourway as opposed to red and gold in 2013/14.
10/20 Liverpool (Away)
Their attempt at designing a decent away shirt, however, continues to falter with this ultra-bright yellow and red mix.
11/20 Liverpool (Third Kit)
Liverpool's questionable choice for a sache and hoop combo has come under-fire from fans.
12/20 Manchester City (home)
The Premier League champions have unveiled their updated Nike shirt, with a black v-neck collar replacing the previous blue and white trim on the crew neck.
Manchester City FC
13/20 Manchester United (Home)
Featuring new sponsors Chevrolet, the large logo has attracted a mixed response from Red Devils fans.
14/20 Manchester United (Away)
Wayne Rooney in the new Manchester United away kit
15/20 Newcastle United (Away)
A silky silver shirt replaces the plain black version from 2013/14, and seems to suit the rather bright Wonga sponsor a lot better.
16/20 QPR (Home, Away & Third Kit)
Perhaps one of the best looking shirts so far, QPR's horizontal hoop home shirt is a joy to behold. The decision to have an all-white away shirt is quite baffling, however, given that white is also included in the home, and the third kit is somewhat Sunday League-ish.
17/20 Southampton (Home)
Southampton's home kit for 2014/15
18/20 Stoke City (Home & Away)
Stoke kits for 2014/15
19/20 Swansea City (Home & Away)
Swansea City 2014/15 kits
20/20 West Ham (Home & Away)
West Ham kits for 2014/15
Van Gaal has also sought maximum time to assess the players, undertaking double training sessions this week with the squad ahead of a first pre-season match, against the LA Galaxy in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Video: Louis van Gaal unveiled as Manchester United boss
The work on the pitches and windscreens underlines the reputation Van Gaal cherishes as a football scientist, as well as motivator. Both Arsenal and Manchester City, among others, have sought to replicate the pitch they use on match days at their training centres. The new Etihad Campus, which City will open this autumn, is expected to include training pitches with varying lengths of turf, to replicate stadia where the club will play in an upcoming fixture.
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